For nearly 40 years, BYU has protected its students and campus community, one of the largest concentrations of citizens in the state of Utah, through a state-certified police force called University Police. For that entire time, Utah statutes have recognized the police force that BYU established and have authorized its state-certified peace officers to keep the peace. During this time, BYU has borne the financial burden of paying for these law enforcement officials.
BYU received word yesterday that the Utah Commissioner of Public Safety has issued a notice of agency action to decertify University Police as a state-certified police force. This action is not immediate and allows for an appeal, which BYU is already in the process of preparing.
BYU finds this decision confounding and disagrees with the grounds for seeking decertification. The Department of Public Safety believes that University Police failed to meet criteria for an internal investigation and a response to a subpoena. BYU, however, believes that University Police met all applicable criteria and is surprised that the commissioner is issuing a letter on these technical grounds.
BYU plans to file a responsive pleading and demonstrate in a hearing how University Police has complied with these certification criteria. BYU continues to believe that the best way to protect its students, and to protect BYU’s campus without putting a disproportionate fiscal burden on Provo’s taxpayers, is to have comprehensive police protection through Provo City and University Police.
Experience shows that allowing University Police to continue operating as a state-certified police force is the proven means of protecting the BYU campus community. BYU intends to pursue all available agency action and legal processes to remain in a position to keep its students safe.